Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Book Review: The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

From the back of the book: On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?
Gripping and fast-paced, with an ending that will stay with you long after you’ve read it, The Wicked Girls will appeal to fans of the Academy Award–nominated film Heavenly Creatures and the novels of Rosamund Lupton and Chevy Stevens.

I came across The Wicked Girls as an "Amazon Recommends" suggestion, presumably because I'd recently looked up several books by Laura Lippman, whose endorsement of this book is actually featured on the cover. The plot seemed completely interesting to me, and I couldn't wait to jump in. 

Initially, I'll say that the alternating narrative style of this book was a bit hard to follow because essentially, we're actually hearing from four characters--Kristy (present), Amber (present), Bel (past), and Jade (past). The narration jumps from person to person often, and it was hard initially for me to keep track of which present-day character went with which past character. 

Overall, I thought the story was interesting, though predictable. But here's my gripe, and I'll do the best that I can to explain with as few spoilers as possible...basically, the whole premise of the book centers around the idea that Bel and Jade were The Wicked Girls. That in meeting each other for the first time, they conspired to commit murder of a four year old girl. But from my perspective, while Bel and Jade weren't particularly kind or compassionate to the four year old who unexpectedly came into their care, they were also eleven years old at the time, and it was pretty clear to me that what happened was not murder, so much as an accident. They made poor choices after the four year old died, but they weren't malicious, just flawed reasoning of YOUNG CHILDREN who were probably in SHOCK.
 Despite how the media may have portrayed them, I feel like any reasonable police officer, judge, counselor, etc, would have seen the truth of the situation readily. And it's that knowledge of their "wicked" past that seems like it is supposed to shape our perspective of Kristy and Amber in the present, but I just couldn't get there, and it drove me nuts. 

So for me, although it wasn't necessarily a bad book, I had a hard time investing in the story that Marwood was trying to tell. Overall? 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Beauty in the Landscape.

I grew up in a small town in Southern Oregon. 

Southern Oregon, and especially the town that I grew up in, can feel like another planet. It's kind of hard to explain unless you've been there, but everything is different. I mean, not only do you deal with all the issues of any small town in the world (everybody knows everybody else and all their business), but in this case, you also have a town that is widely considered one of the best hippie towns in the U.S., while paradoxically also being extremely rich, extremely non-diverse, and a place where it is common for the "hippies" to wear $100 gaucho pants, and grab their longboard that they ride around town out of the back of their Escalade. It is so weird, because this is a dynamic that exists only in my home-town, and not at all even 12 miles down the road. It is b-to-the-iz-are (I couldn't resist). Anyway, from the time that I was about a freshman in high school, there was an almost universal rumbling across all kids my age that basically went 'I cant wait to get out of here.' 

So, I moved to Tacoma for college, well Parkland, but close enough. I thought that I would love the city. I thought that I was made for the city. And this is probably going to sound super naieve, but the number one thing I remember about my first week in college (other than my fabulous roommate & next door neighbor), was the fact that in the city, you couldn't see the stars at night. Not like you do in Southern Oregon, anyway. I hated it. So, due to a mix of my family, in-state tuition, and Justin all being located in Southern Oregon, I moved back. I'm not in hippie-ville USA anymore, but back nonetheless. 

Since coming back, I could more easily see what so many people love about Southern Oregon--we really are fortunate here to be within a few hours drive of the ocean, ski resorts, amazing natural lakes, breath-taking mountains, and the high desert. But it's so easy to get busy. It's so easy to forget that we have things right in our backyard that people travel here to see.

I was blessed to recently be asked by a dentist's office to take some landscape photos for display. It was truly *so nice* to get out and do something a little different. To get in the car and enjoy these places with our little family. I wish now that we would've bitten the bullet and gone to Crater Lake because it has been YEARS, but now it's closed and that's a story for another day. I had a blast. And I think (I hope!) that I delivered.

So anyway... here's a small taste of Southern Oregon:
Landscape (1) Landscape (2) Landscape (3) Landscape (4) Landscape (6) Landscape (7) Landscape (8) Landscape (9) Landscape (10) Landscape (11) Landscape (12) Landscape (13) Landscape (14)

Monday, October 14, 2013

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